Turkey to mark National Sovereignty and Children’s Day
Turkey will mark National Sovereignty and Children’s Day on April 23, the anniversary of the foundation of the Turkish Parliament, with official ceremonies to be held in the capital Ankara.
The country celebrates the establishment of parliament with National Sovereignty and Children’s Day on April 23 every year, as it was bestowed by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey, at the opening ceremony of parliament.
Although Sovereignty Day is being marked for the 98th time this year, it was 1979 when the day started to be called “International Children’s Year” and the state-run Turkish Radio and Television Institution (TRT) started a festival called “TRT International April 23 Children’s Festival.” In its first year, Turkey hosted children from SSCB, Iraq, Italy, Romania and Bulgaria, and went on to host thousands of children from 150 different countries over 39 years.
Ceremonies are set to be held in the current parliament, the first parliament building, and Anıtkabir, the mausoleum of Atatürk.
An initial ceremony will be held at 9 a.m. with the laying of a wreath at the Atatürk Monument in parliament. At 9:15 a.m., high-level state officials will attend the ceremony at Anıtkabir and a commemoration will be held in the first parliament building at 10 a.m.
Parliament Speaker İsmail Kahraman will make a commemoration speech in the first parliament, before moving to the current parliament to accept greetings at 11:30 a.m.
At 12.15 p.m, Kahraman will welcome a group of children at his office, with the sixth grader Arda Kürşat Samaraz, a student of the Mimar Kemal Middle School, symbolically taking the seat of Kahraman.
The parliament will also convene with a special agenda to celebrate the anniversary of its 98th inauguration.
Kahraman and leaders of political parties are expected to address the general assembly on the occasion. At 7 p.m., Kahraman will host a reception in parliament to mark the day.
Meanwhile, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan released a message on April 22 marking the importance of the day and saying a “new era” awaited Turkey with the upcoming snap election on June 24.
“In the new period we’ll continue to work with all of our power, in close cooperation and solidarity with the Turkish Parliament, in order to leave our children, who are our future and hope, a better future, a greater and more powerful Turkey,” Erdoğan stated.
Education Minister İsmet Yılmaz also released a message on April 22, saying it was the officials’ primary duty to “convey our thousands-year-old history, culture, and values to future generations.”